I am in the 3rd week of a new job as Senior Java developer. There is a scrum team consisting of leased external developers, some junior to me, some senior.

Situation with junior colleague

A junior coworker whose work I reviewed some weeks ago, took my improvement suggestions too personally and now waiting on small trivial mistakes I do and blow them out of proportions.

I asked other team colleagues for their review on him and they had the same feedback about him taking things too personal und getting vengeful. My company is trying to cut down on leased employees and it could get hard for him, should I try to educate him about it first and see if he changes his attitude in a good way or should I directly go to my manager and give my feedback to him, I wouldn't wanna start at a new place on a complaining note though.

  • Reason for downvote? – Anirudh Nov 1 '19 at 15:29
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    What specifically do you want to accomplish? – sf02 Nov 1 '19 at 15:31
  • How to maintain a good team spirit – Anirudh Nov 1 '19 at 15:32
  • What does "maintain a good team spirit" mean? How does Adam interact with the rest of the team and what are their thoughts on him? – sf02 Nov 1 '19 at 15:34
  • They mentioned he gets too defensive and makes mistakes at times. – Anirudh Nov 1 '19 at 15:35

People don't change. Not really, anyway.

They can be open minded about self improvement, and learn to manage any negative personality aspects, but they don't fundamentally change.

Petty, solipsistic (self-centered, thinks the world revolves around him. Almost narcissistic - ex: you finding a mistake in his code is not simply a correction, it's a personal affront which must be avenged) people will always be that way, and only with great effort, and strength of will would this kid become open to suggestions, criticism, and advice. Are you willing to invest the massive amount of time, energy and patience into seeing this guy change?

The best thing you could do for your company is highlight his poor behavior (which is known anyway), and make sure that he's the first one to go when the firings start, because he's costing you all time, money, and energy which is better spent elsewhere.

At the end of the day you're there to develop code, not hold the hand of some contractor who's not interested in playing nice with others. You should highlight any barriers to delivering good solutions to management, and he's one of those barriers.

Based on your comment, you're interested in answers exploring how to break it to the kid that he's not "playing nice", because you don't want to look bad to your boss for reporting his bad behavior.

My advice to you is to stick to the facts, and let your boss know that the youngster's shenanigans are costing you development time. Leave management to handle the kid's attitude problems.

I, myself, not only witnessed, but personally experienced problems when advice given a teammate in good spirit blew up in my face.

In one case, I attempted to mentor a Business Analyst who was very technically ignorant. She gladly accepted my advice, until one day she asked me to review work that she was sending way high up the food chain.

I told her that she had misunderstood what was being asked, and pointed her to resources on how to write up the proper documentation. Little did I know that the deadline was only a couple of hours away, and she didn't have time to redo her work.

In a panic, she emailed her boss, and instead of admitting she'd gotten it wrong, claimed that I'd failed to guide her, and was refusing to help her (which was not my job, at any rate). Guess who ended up having to sit down management and explain the situation.

Good thing I was unionized at the time, otherwise I'm fairly certain I would've faced termination. And why? For giving unsolicited advice to someone whom I was not responsible for in any way, shape, or form. Lesson learned.

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  • I appreciate the time you took to answer my question. This situation would have been different if I were not in probation period myself, that's the tricky part....I know if he doesn't change he would come in the firing line...but the only chance I wanted to give was based on the fact that his attitude is unripe due to his age, maybe I and other peers could help him talk into it...the answer I was looking for was HOW to do it? – Anirudh Nov 1 '19 at 18:30
  • @anirudh - you're actually more likely to land in hot water for trying to "manage" the contractor's attitude than just reporting the facts. You won't look bad for going to your boss and saying: "Hey Bob, we've been experiencing some delays with production because so-and-so has been flagging features as bugs, and rejecting code merges. Just wanted to let you know it might take another couple of days." Your boss will then speak to others and figure out what's going on. – AndreiROM Nov 1 '19 at 18:37
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    @anirudh - updated my answer, take a look – AndreiROM Nov 1 '19 at 18:47
  • Well my boss knows about him to some extent as well, and he is most likely to pull the trigger on him....I thought about giving him one chance....well if he doesnt budge..then so be it. – Anirudh Nov 1 '19 at 18:48
  • okay...I hear ya! – Anirudh Nov 1 '19 at 18:58

Document any relevant interaction with that colleague. Talk to your boss about the situation, state the facts, how they affect you and your work. When talking to your boss, put the focus on what you can do in order to have a professional work relation with your colleague rather than sounding accusative.

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Write this down


if he was and is a vengeful dush that cant accept criticism, he will remain that.

Maybe, like 0.00001% after your talk he will hide and try to look different, remaining the same inside and waiting for his opportunity to destroy you.

Do you want to take this chance?

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  • Considering he is at a tender age and not a 70 something grandpa, with a huge a learning curve for him. Actually those who can learn from their mistakes do change ;) – Anirudh Nov 1 '19 at 16:15
  • @Anirudh Tender age is kind a vague definition :) – Strader Nov 1 '19 at 16:31
  • @anirudh - what Strader said is true. People don't change. Not really, anyway. They can be open minded about self improvement, and learn to manage any negative personality aspects, but they don't change. And so, he's 110% correct: this guy will always be petty and vengeful. Maybe getting fired will make him realize that he needs to chill, and he'll learn to work better with others. My question is why are you asking for advice & then rejecting the truth? Because it's uncomfortable? Are you not displaying the same behavior which would indicate the junior will simply scoff at your own advice? – AndreiROM Nov 1 '19 at 18:17

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